Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Public Wants Wind and Solar Even Though Initial Costs are Higher

WPO Questionnaire/Methodology (PDF)
WPO Full report on poll (PDF)
WPO Press Release (PDF)

A poll conducted of over 20,000 people in 21 nations by found that the public strongly supports requiring businesses to be energy efficient and utilities to use alternative energy sources such as wind and solar, even if this increases the cost of energy and other products.  There was far less support, roughly half the support for alternative energy, for use of nuclear power, coal, or oil as energy sources. In all nations most people reject the view that shifting to alternative energy sources would hurt the economy, believing instead that it would save money in the long run.  Emphasizing increased costs in the short run has little impact on support because the public is optimistic that shifting to alternative energy sources will save money in the long run. A majority of the public in all nations, when presented two competing arguments about the cost of "making a major shift to alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar," takes the view that "with the rising costs of energy, it would save money in the long run."  About 2/3 of the public takes this optimistic view. In no nation does a majority of the public believe that a major shift to alternative energy sources "would cost so much money that it would hurt the economy."  The survey covered the US, China, India, Russia, France, Germany, Italy, and the UK as well as Indonesia, Nigeria, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, the Palestinian Territories, Poland, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau.


(Photo: Taylor Dundee)

WPO reports:

"It is quite remarkable that there is such unanimity around the world that government should address the problem of energy by emphasizing alternative energy sources and greater efficiency," comments Steven Kull, director of "Equally remarkable is how little the governments around the world are following the public's lead."

WPO also reports that the public strongly supports having government require "utilities to use more alternative energy, such as wind and solar, even if this increases the cost of energy in the short run."  Even with the costs highlighted, majorities in all but two nations favor the idea, though the average level of support slips a bit to 69 percent.

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November 20, 2008 in Economics, Energy, Governance/Management | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bush Administration Land Mines the Interior Department, EPA, and Other Environmental Agencies

The Washington Post reports that the Solicitor of the Interior Department has shifted half a dozen key political appointees – including Robert Comer known for his opposition to the roadless rule and a questionable grazing agreement as well as Matthew McKeown, a mining industry darling – into senior civil service posts. These transfers, called "burrowing," allows political appointees to stay in the government and create obstacles to changing policy direction.  Perhaps the practice should be called "land-mining," given its potential for derailing the peaceful transfer of power:

Between March 1 and Nov. 3, according to the federal Office of Personnel Management, the Bush administration allowed 20 political appointees to become career civil servants. Six political appointees to the Senior Executive Service, the government's most prestigious and highly paid employees, have received approval to take career jobs at the same level. Fourteen other political, or "Schedule C," appointees have also been approved to take career jobs. One candidate was turned down by OPM and two were withdrawn by the submitting agency. The personnel moves come as Bush administration officials are scrambling to cement in place policy and regulatory initiatives that touch on issues such as federal drinking-water standards, air quality at national parks, mountaintop mining and fisheries limits.

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November 18, 2008 in Agriculture, Air Quality, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Economics, Energy, Environmental Assessment, Forests/Timber, Governance/Management, Law, Mining, North America, Sustainability, US, Water Quality, Water Resources | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Little Perspective

Here's an interesting poster of US economic history in the last century.    Download economy-good-mag.jpg High national debt is not always bad as one can see from the late 1940s and 1950s.  But look at the size of the current debt relative to GDP!    US Economic History - Good Magazine

November 17, 2008 in Economics | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

6th Annual Colloquium of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law

The 6th Annual Colloquium of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law was hugely successful thanks to the fine strategic and organizational efforts of Jose Juan Gonzalez, the conference organizer from Mexico City's Autonomous University of Mexico (UAM).  US environmental law luminaries included: Dinah Shelton; Dick Ottinger, Ann Powers, and Nick Robinson of Pace University; David Hodas and John Dernbach (who I actually never saw-but I was told he was there) of Widener University; Jackie Hand of Seattle U; and Melissa Powers of Lewis & Clark.   This was my first time going to the Colloquium because of its inconvenient fall timing...but it was more than worth it and I hope to go next year, when the Colloquium will gather in Huang, China, an industrial city towards the center of China not too far from the 3 Gorges Dam along the Yangtze River.  The dates of the Colloquium are in early November, although the Academy's leadership is checking the dates of Ramaden to determine whether there is a conflict.

November 17, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

I'm back from Geneva and Mexico City

I've just returned from my last Fall semester junket.  Actually both conferences were awesome experiences that I'll try to share in bits and pieces as the semester ends.

November 17, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Oil prices increase modestly today

Crude-oil futures are climbing above $58 a barrel this morning based on the Federal Reserve's report that industrial output from US factories, mines and utilities increased in October, moderating September's sharp losses.  Industrial production in October increased 1.3% recovering at least a third of the 3.7% loss in September, which remains the biggest decline in 60 years. September's losses were due in part to the fact that fierce hurricanes in the Gulf shut down oil drilling, oil refining and chemical production.

November 17, 2008 in Climate Change, Economics, Energy, Governance/Management, International, Sustainability | Permalink | TrackBack (0)